Thanks to the invention of the food processor, pesto making has become such a simple task, transforming a ten minute dinner into something amazing. The intriguing combination of basil, sesame seeds, soy sauce, garlic, lime juice, jalapenos, and olive oil tossed in penne pasta created a unique Italian-Asian Fusion dish. It had such a simplicity to it, yet it burst with spiciness from the jalapenos and such freshness from the lime juice. I added some Sriracha for that extra spicy kick and it served as a wonderful complement to the pasta. I enjoyed it very much for dinner and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it just as much when I eat this during class tomorrow!

Penne with Thai-Style Pesto (adapted from Rachel Ray):

Yields 4 servings

  • 1 lb rice pasta, penne or wide noodles
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, pasted
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Toasted sesame oil, for drizzling
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced, for garnish

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the basil, 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, soy sauce, garlic, lime juice and jalapenos.

With the motor running, add 1/4 cup olive oil in a slow stream until emulsified.

In a large bowl, immediately combine the hot pasta and pesto, allowing the flavors to soak.

Serve immediately, drizzled with sesame oil and garnished with scallions and sesame seeds.

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